Tuesday, September 21, 2010

NFL Homage: Week 2

Peter King, long-time Sports Illustrated writer, has a column titled Monday Morning Quarterback or MMQB. This is speculative hearsay as I have never read it. But that is the rumor. Similarly, Gregg Easterbrook, short-time ESPN.com author, has a column titled Tuesday Morning Quarterback or TMQ. This is factual, as I have seen the links to it, but have never read it. Supposedly TMQ is an homage to MMQB where, in both, the author summarizes the goings-on of the previous NFL week of games. Well, in the Sports Pinata, each week I will be writing a post about the previous slab of games, call it an homage to an homage as I am copying the idea, but as I have never read either man's work, don't know if I will be copying ideas. Let's hope not. On to week two.

Welcome back Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson. Both men made last week's 'stars who sucked' lineup and rebounded rather splendidly in week two against the Redskins. Schaub, after throwing for barley over 100 yards in the first game of the year, threw for 497 yards and 3 touchdowns on Sunday. Meanwhile, Johnson caught 158 of those yards and one of those scores, after only totaling 33 yards the previous game.

As Mark Twain once coined, the rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated. The Jets can borrow that statement after their week two comeback against the Patriots. Mark Sanchez was, dare I say, good. The Jets offense as a whole looked far from the anemic, pathetic team that took the field in week one. However, the death of Shonn Greene as a star running back may still be official. Representatives are calling in the mortician as we speak.

In other league news, the Vikings and Cowboys are both still winless. I can't say I am anything other than delighted. Brett Favre feels there is a lack of chemistry between himself and the receivers? Oh, really? Perhaps that is what training camp is for you moron. The Lions are also among the winless, yet not because of playing poorly necessarily. After the heartbreaking week one loss, the Eagles squeak out a 3 point win against them in week two, even without the services of Matthew Stafford.

The most important thing each week is, of course, fantasy performances. Last week I made the mistake of crediting one of our Morning Quarterbacks with the idea of creating the 'lineup of no-names who would beat your team.' As I said, I had never read either person's column so did not confirm on my own. It turns out, this gimmick is done by a different ESPN.com writer. Nevertheless, with this being a homage article anyway, I will continue the 'stars who sucked' lineup.

Quarterback - Brett Favre. Three interceptions and no touchdowns thrown. Add a fumble for good measure. The Vikings were supposed to be happy Favre decided to take their money and come back. Instead, it appears as though Favre is hurt and not ready to play. Adrian Peterson carried the load in the loss, but should be carrying the ball 25-30 times a game. This team has no receivers until Sidney Rice returns and a quarterback who cannot be trusted. Ride the "best" running back in football.

Running Back - Chris Johnson and Maurice Jones-Drew. After a stellar game one, Johnson struggled to do anything against the Steelers defense. Netting 34 yards on the ground ended Chris Johnson's 12 game streak of rushing for 100 yards or more. Jones-Drew, on the other hand, was hampered by his teaming sucking. The Jaguars were behind too early to stick with the running game. This might continue to happen to Maurice in the coming weeks as the Jags are the worst team in their division. Excuses aside though, these were two terrible games from two of the top five picks in most fantasy drafts.

Wide Receiver - Randy Moss and Greg Jennings. As stated last week, wide receiver is a very fickle position. Oftentimes catches come in bunches or not at all. Randy Moss ended with a not terrible 9 fantasy points, but only had 38 receiving yards. Catching a touchdown saved him from disaster, but he still has not produced a big game in a long while. Jennings ended with nearly the same yardage total, gaining 36, but did not catch a touchdown, making for an even worse fantasy performance than Moss. For two of the top half dozen receivers, week two did not bring confidence.

Tight End - Brent Celek - I was going to give this distinction to Tony Gonzalez except prior to the season, many expected Gonzalez to start slowing down and saw 2010 as a poor year for the future hall of famer. He did not disappoint in week two, totaling a lowly 19 yards from scrimmage. Celek though was supposed to break out this season with Jermichael Finely. Finely had over 100 yards receiving on Sunday while Celek ended with 2 fantasy points. Perhaps this was in part due to the switch at quarterback, but more likely it just means Brent Celek is not a must start every week. Not yet at least.

D/ST - Ravens. The defense/special teams slot is often up for debate. Many owners rotate in their starter simply based on an opponent that week. Get whatever defense is playing the Rams! Others start a defense that is a good team, whether the defense is the strength or not. That seems to be why the Patriots and Eagles are so highly owned. There are very few defense/special teams that are a good start every week. Baltimore was supposed to be one of those. You could trot out the Ravens no matter the opponent. Although they did not give up a large amount of points, they forced no turnovers and only recorded 1 sack. Depending on league settings (as always) they totaled a pitiful 1 point.

Kicker - Stephen Gostkowski. No field goals. Two extra points. Two total points for the "second rated" kicker in the league. Meanwhile, Mike Nugent, owned by fewer than 5% of all teams, racked up five field goals and a possible week winning 15 point performance. I still pity anyone who spent more than $1 on their kicker.

So week two showed a slight comeback by offensive performances. There were a lot more points scored and yardage recorded the second week in the league as teams' offenses get back into the flow and defensive advantages wear away. (Don't try to confirm that. It just felt like that was the case even if it wasn't really.)

Lastly, my somewhat adopted Kansas City Chiefs are now 2-0: best record in the league! Sure they failed to score an offensive touchdown and sure they only fed the ball 12 times to their best player (Jamaal Charles) but you have to win ugly every now and then. And beating a Seneca Wallace-led Browns team by only two points sure is ugly.

This has been week two's NFL homage to an homage.

(Same image used as previous NFL Homage post)

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